DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Another year, another instant classic from North Carolina Central and Bethune-Cookman.
For the third time in four years — and the second time with a blocked field goal — the Wildcats downed the Eagles on the final play, this time a Tydarius Peters blocked field goal that preserved a 28-25 double-overtime victory on Senior Night at Daytona Stadium.
Jimmie Robinson provided the early highlights, Keavon Mitchell came up big again with a game-tying touchdown catch with 53 seconds remaining, Uriel Hernandez delivered two overtime field goals and then Peters’s block.
Hernandez sent the game into a second overtime with a 39-yard field goal, then gave the Wildcats (6-5, 4-2) the lead with a 21-yarder.
North Carolina Central (4-5,2-3) actually had two chances to tie the game after a timeout canceled a first blocked field goal attempt, but Peters’ preserved the first Bethune-Cookman overtime victory since a 63-61 four-overtime victory over Norfolk State in 2005.
The Wildcats tied the game at 22-22 with 53 seconds remaining after David Israel manufactured a 73-yard drive that culminated in a 19-yard touchdown to Mitchell, who caught a Hail Mary pass on the final play of Bethune-Cookman’s 13-10 victory last year.
Isaiah Totten rushed for 190 yards and two touchdowns for North Carolina Central, who led 16-2 early in the second period, but the Wildcats kept in the game thanks to Robinson and his ability to break the big play.
He brought the Wildcats back to 16-15 with a 100-yard kickoff return and a 56-yard third quarter run. Earlier, he scored Bethune-Cookman’s first two points when he returned a blocked North Carolina Central point after attempt.
With 5:25 remaining, the Eagles capitalized on a BCU fumble to take a 22-15 lead on Naiil Ramadan’s 15-yard run four plays later.
All it did was set the stage for a dramatic drive.
Israel connected with Mitchell on four passes for 41 yards on the drive, which also saw 18-yarder to Malique Jackson and Robinson and a 17-yarder to Steffon Francois.
Robinson finished with 278 all-purpose yards — 92 rushing, 18 receiving and 182 yards on returns.
Mitchell had six catches for 67, Francois five for 70. Israel finished 12 of 17 for 162 yards.
The Wildcat defense, which contained the Eagles to 150 yards in the second half and overtime and kept the visitors from converting their final six third downs, got 14 tackles each from Marquis Hendrix and Devin James.
Courtesy: BCU Athletics